Mitt Romney's team rocked as key player Tim Pawlenty walks
Co-chairman quits campaign as Republicans try to recover from video embarrassment
A top officer in the Mitt Romney presidential team abruptly abandoned ship yesterday offering fresh embarrassment for the Republican candidate and capping an awful 10 days of below-decks pandemonium and chaos.
With less than 50 days left in the race, Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota Governor who, as co-chairman of Mr Romney's campaign, had been one of his most visible spokesmen at the recent convention and on the trail, announced that he was bowing out to head a financial industry lobbying group in Washington.
The news was another unwelcome distraction just as Team Romney was taking steps to turn the page with a new stump script for the candidate emphasising his commitment to "the 100 per cent" of America and a newly packed schedule of campaigning by himself and running mate Paul Ryan that will kick off on Monday with a three-day bus tour of Ohio. Voters can also expect to see more of Ann Romney.
Both Mr Pawlenty, who was briefly a runner in the Republican primaries, and the campaign sought to downplay the departure. "While I regret he cannot continue as co-chair of my campaign, his new position advancing the integrity of our financial system is vital to the future of our country," Mr Romney said.
After refusing for several days to back down from the substance of comments video-taped at a donors' dinner in May, in which he wrote off 47 per cent of voters as "victims" who depend on handouts and therefore won't vote for him, Mr Romney changed tack abruptly at a forum taped by Univision, a Spanish-language channel, in Miami late on Wednesday.
"My campaign is about the 100 per cent in America and I'm concerned about them," he said, in a bid to bury all memory of his 47 per cent comments. "I've demonstrated my capacity to help the 100 per cent."
At a later rally, he tried to complete his rehabilitation by acknowledging that government support for people has a role. "That's how America works. We have big hearts. We care for people who have needs. We help lift them up," he said, before adding, "But then we don't make that a permanent lifestyle."
It will take more to dispel the gloom in Republican ranks, however, in part because the headwinds of recent days have not just been of Mr Romney's making.
Polling data continues to show that President Barack Obama got a lift out of his party's convention in Charlotte. More important, however, are new numbers showing that Americans are starting to evince more optimism about the chances of an economic recovery.
Since Charlotte, polls have shown the numbers of Americans who think the country is moving in the right direction jumping by six to nine points, including in a new Washington Post survey yesterday of voters in the key swing state of Virginia.
Mr Ryan, who will be the first to ride the Ohio bus tour next week, spent yesterday trying to reassure Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives at a behind-closed-doors meeting in Washington urging them "not to get distracted by the day-to-day polls," according to members who attended, and "to stay positive".
"Here's our commitment: we are going to make this about the big things," Mr Ryan told his peers. "We need to go on offense and we need to give our constituents the choice of two futures."
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 4 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Stella McCartney apologises over controversial 'very ill' model picture on Instagram
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Cheryl Cole named 'the most dangerous celebrity' on the internet
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£55000 - £60000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client, a prog...
£90 - £120 per day + tax deductable expenses: Randstad Education Leicester: Ke...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Our client is seeking to app...